A Beautiful Man – A Book Review

14 09 2009

By Sheila

“When you’re not creating, you’re not living.” Kevyn Aucoin

Little known fact: Kevyn Aucoin is responsible for Painted Ladies. It’s true.

Courtesy of Amazon.com

Courtesy of Amazon.com

Maybe not directly, but Taryn and I met almost a decade ago due to our mutual admiration and slight obsession with his artistry. It was early on in the Internet era, and we both found ourselves posting on the forum attached to his website, bonding by sharing our thoughts about makeup and beauty, and  feeling besides ourselves with excitement when Kevyn would actually pop up with a post every now and then.

He would share poems, stories about his life, talk about the products he used … and then, one day, one horrible day in May, a rumor and then confirmation. Kevyn had passed away.

Another forum member called me in tears with the news, and I remember throwing my youngest sister off the chair of our shared family computer (sorry, Tina!) because I had to know the precise details of this tragedy.

It was a terrible loss … at his relatively-young age, Kevyn had contributed so much the world of beauty and had  provided inspiration to a generation of makeup artists. Besides all of that, he was a man who had pure and good thoughts, which he shared in his makeup books and public appearances.

Before his death, he was working on a new makeup book similar to the three he’d published before. Not wanting it to remain unfinished, it was redeveloped into a memorial of his life and his works. Of course I was first in line to purchase the final chapter of his work.

Kevyn Aucoin: A Beautiful Life is a fitting tribute to the master of inner and outer beauty, containing photos of his 104most memorable work long with remembrances and stories from his loved ones. It’s a heartfelt inside look at his personal life and the experiences and people who shaped him as a person and as a makeup artist. Along with photos of his work that didn’t appear anywhere else, here are also some tutorials on his patented techniques.

Flipping through the pages of this book, I am amazed at his flawless applications – the contouring done just right, the eyes shaded in a way that always made me think … I CAN do that same look, but of course, it was never like the photos. Kevyn was also a master of spiritual inspiration, wanting to help people become the best versions of themselves.

“I don’t want to be tolerated, I want to be celebrated.” Kevyn Aucoin

108Kevyn’s gift of applying makeup was remarkable and what strikes me the most about this book is how he touched so many people on so many levels – he was idolized and dearly loved by his family, by his fans, and by the many celebrities he made up throughout his career.  

Here’s a little snippet by Kevyn on Kevyn that was shot in preparation for the release of his makeup line, which is still available in stores. Watching the clip, I’m just struck by the innate joy in his demeanor; what a powerful and beautiful being. You can also hear him pronounce his last name, for those of you who’ve been curious.

You can find more information on Kevyn’s legacy and his products at kevynaucoin.com. Kevyn Aucoin: A Beautiful life can be found online at Amazon.com.




One response

14 09 2009

Great review, Sheila!

I totally agree.

He was just so innovative and talented. I remember that he was responsible for the idea of brightening your eyes by placing a tiny deposit of shimmery white eyeshadow to the inner corners (all inspired by his beloved niece), a trend that remained prominent in fashion and beauty magazines for YEARS, even after his death.. I loved reading his column in Allure, and especially loved getting a view of his world through the Polariod photographs that he would take of his friends, family and celebs.

I still can’t bring myself to throw out his last (If I recall correctly) Vogue cover with his good friend, Gwyneth Paltrow on the cover…

You could always tell whose makeup he did on Oscar night—those lucky celebs always appeared ethereal and just oozed glamour.

He is severely missed.

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